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Interviews

Operation Flashpoint Red River: "People are yearning for something a little more different"

Pt. 1 - Call of Duty, cerebral shooting and controversy

Codemaster's Operation Flashpoint Red River brings its own brand of modern warfare to a crowded genre. Despite the dominance of titles such as Call of Duty and Battlefield Codies is still optimistic about the Operation Flashpoint franchise and its staying power.

We sat down for a chat with creative director Sion Lenton to discuss Red River. In part one of our interview we talk about competition from Call of Duty, the state of the shooter genre and the multi-year Operation Flashpoint plan.

As with every military-based first-person shooter the question of whether it's a COD-killer comes up, is it?

Zoom

I think we've got a longer gameplan, if I'm being honest I'm going to step to one side and let EA and Activision duke it out.

I'm actually much more interested in being in a very different space from those guys, hence the co-op side of things and also that kind of authenticity that we have here, which is almost that reportage style, a gritty documentary style, the type of levels and missions you have in the game.

You don't have to throw yourself on a nuclear bomb to protect your friends; you're not doing any of that at all. As opposed to kind of a direct attack we're trying to be a bit more subtle, creating our own space and hopefully we can get people over.

I don't know about you but I've started to sense a little bit of genre fatigue, for want of a better word, and I think - I know I am myself - people are yearning for something a little more different. Something that challenges them a little more, I think that's the kind of thing we're trying to offer here.

It's a more cerebral game, you're not rewarded for how quick you are but for how smart you are. You're rewarded for how you remember and learn what happens and how you deal with that and you're rewarded by teamwork, which is the bastion and central premise of the game.

Obviously it would be crazy not to aim for the No.1 spot...

Oh I'd love it, obviously I didn't get into this business to make No.40 games. Dragon Rising was No.2 and was held off by FIFA so I think the potential is there.

There's obviously elements that I don't have control over like when you release it, windows and stuff like that, but I do see this - certainly more than Dragon Rising - I do see Red River as the start of quite an exciting journey for Operation Flashpoint.

So maybe it's a case of 'in the future', after a sequel or two?

Yes, Rod's gone on record saying that he sees Flashpoint as being one of our big IPs and every couple of years we're going to be releasing a Flashpoint, because Dragon Rising was successful and it did well for Codemasters, it actually did very well.

Zoom

So we've got a longer gameplan, of which Red River is chapter one, it's a long plan of what we want to do. Having that plan allows us not to worry about things like no competitive multiplayer in this game, that's fine, we're not worried about that. This is a core experience we're building on iteration by iteration.

The competitive multiplayer is usually what gets people hooked and coming back...

I agree, I think I said the other day that Call of Duty is not a game, it's an invitation to a big online party that everyone is having. Someone I was talking to today was asking about new players, are they going to find it challenging, too intimidating?

I haven't had much time over the past couple of months to play games because I've been very busy but I dipped a toe into Black Ops and I found that incredibly intimidating. Spawn campers were killing me as soon as I came into the game, little German kid screaming into my ear about what he's going to do to my mother and all that kind of stuff and you know what, I don't play competitive multiplayer anymore for those very reasons.

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